Summer 2015 is a Go!

By Amelia Lavranchuk, Unit Head and Social Media Coordinator

Today was a very special day at URJ Six Points Sci-Tech: opening day of first session and Sci-Tech’s second summer. After two weeks of preparation and staff training, the campers are finally here! For the second summer in a row, campers will have the unique opportunity to explore amazing science and cutting-edge technology in a reform Jewish camp environment. This morning, we welcomed nearly double the number of first session campers that attended the first session of our inaugural summer. We are so excited that camp has grown so much in such a short time!

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campers arrive excited for a summer of discovery!

Our counselors started the day off bright and early at 7:00 am, and were wide awake with anticipation and excitement! With a lot of cheering and singing, they took care of a few last minute preparations for camper arrival. Meanwhile, our small army of volunteers from our reform Jewish community got in position to help check-in flow smoothly. Counselors enthusiastically helped campers’ families unload their cars and get unpacked in the dorms. This summer, in addition to our dorms named for biologist Rosalind Franklin and Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, we have added the brand new Baer dorm, named for video game designer Ralph Baer. Ralph Baer invented the Magnavox Odyssey console and the memory game Simon, and was awarded the National Medal of Technology for his work. In addition to these achievements, Ralph Baer was a member of the reform Jewish community of nearby Manchester, NH.

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roommates get to know each other during move-in

Once the campers were settled in, they got to know their halls over a picnic lunch on the main lawn. On such a beautiful sunny day, it was great to have the extra time outside! Following lunch, all of camp joined together for some all camp ice breakers. Then, campers grouped back into their halls to team up for some building challenges. Halls had to work together to build a cardboard bridge that could hold a cup of water, create the tallest paper tower with only five pieces of tape, and use some string and a plastic bag to keep a tennis ball from bouncing when dropped from the second floor of the Technion.

Campers and counselors get to know each other during our all camp icebreaker

Next, campers met took a tour of camp, and met for the very first time in their workshops for the session. Campers in the Earth and Sky workshop built a pinhole camera to see an image of the sun. This method can be used to view a solar eclipse- the next one is headed our way in September! In Forensics, campers investigated a crime scene next to the chadar ochel (dining hall), and learned how to carefully write down what they saw in order to gather evidence. Campers in the Web and Graphic design workshop brainstormed all of the different purposes a website can accomplish, and received special sketchbooks and pens in order to get their creativity flowing. In Video Game design, campers experimented with familiar board games to see how changing a rule would affect the game. Robotics participants were challenged to discover what a half-built robot was programmed to do, and then finish building it so that it worked. Finally, campers in Digital Media got to pick any piece of equipment in the lab, figure out how to use it, and then teach the rest of the class!

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campers work together to beat the robotics “half-built” challenge

After that, all of camp gathered in our outdoor sanctuary for an opening ceremony. Our Songleader Leo led us in some favorite Sci-Tech songs, and our faculty members Sarah DePaulo, Rabbi Debbie Bravo, and Rabbi Marcia Plumb introduced the five Sci-Tech values: kesher (connection), savlanut (patience), taglit (discovery), sakranut (curiosity) and kavod (respect). Then, they led us in unrolling our Sci-Tech Torah, which combines important stories from the Torah with the history of science and technology in a single scroll. Finally, we unveiled the new DNA sculptures that will decorate our outdoor sanctuary. Each camper created a “nucleotide” by writing a Jewish value on a small mirror, and hanging it from the sculpture. The sculptures represent the values that we want to form the DNA of Sci-Tech.

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We can already see the values hanging from the sculptures reflected in our camp community, and we are looking forward to a wonderful summer!

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